Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has dismissed a suggestion by a fellow entrepreneur that the Government should tax tech start-ups less to encourage their profileration.
“If the Government is serious about making Australia competitive globally as a startup nation, will they consider, like other governments, dropping taxes for tech startups – like corporate taxes, revenue tax, payroll tax, GST and all those sorts of things, and start incentivising people who are actually getting out there and doing things,” George said.
The suggestion was dismissed by fellow entrepreneur Cannon-Brookes who did not see Australia’s tax rules as an impediment to the creation of startups.
Cannon-Brookes co-founded one of Australia's most successful tech startups, which was floated on the NASDAQ late last year. It has a valuation in excess of $6 billion.
Dropping taxes on startups? WTF? "I was going to start a great company but taxes stopped me." Said no one ever. #qanda
— Mike Cannon-Brookes (@mcannonbrookes) March 28, 2016
Entrepreneur and consultant Adam James agreed, noting the risk in effectively having taxpayers subsidise startup projects.
— Adam James (@Addz_James) March 28, 2016
And security expert and entrepreneur Nik Cubrilovic cited a study that found startups didn't necessarily benefit from overt government backing.
— nik cubrilovic (@nikcub) March 28, 2016
However, George found some support for her suggestion from Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy, who appeared on the program’s panel.
“When we think about our taxation settings, we have to think about it in the context of this global [innovation] race,” Roy said.
“I'm a Liberal. I'd like to see lower taxes, less regulation, less government intervention in your life, so you can go out and do what you do so well, which is be an incredible, world changing entrepreneur.
“That is where I think the debate should go.”
Roy said the Government had already started addressing taxation rules for startups and entrepreneurs as part of the $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), and said he believed that type of action is broadly “what we should keep doing.”
While Roy saw room for “creativity” in the tax treatment of startups, he would not be drawn on what sort of action startups might see on that front in the upcoming federal budget.